Eating disorders

Anorexia (loss of appetite) is usually the result of physical ill health. Excessive parental concern about food can result in anorexia, or lead the child to use food


refusal or vomiting to manipulate the parents. Depression is another cause. Anorexia nervosa (see Chapter 15) occasionally affects prepubertal children but more often starts in adolescence.

Overeating is often a compensation for emotional deprivation. Overeating in adolescence usually causes obesity (and hence further emotional difficulties); obesity in youth is a growing public health problem, but not, of course, primarily a psychiatric one.

'Pica' is eating the inedible. Exploration of objects with the mouth is normal up to 2 years of age, but may continue for years in children who are blind, have learning disability, or lack environmental stimulation. Sucking lead-painted objects may cause mental and physical damage.

Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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